The Huntington School District and the Huntington community at-large won the coveted 12th Man Award at the Suffolk County Football Coaches Association’s annual dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge this past Monday night.
The award was presented in honor of Eli Mollineaux, a Huntington sophomore who passed away in late October after a lifelong battle with Pearson Syndrome, a rare genetic condition. The teenager was an honorary member of the Blue Devil varsity football team, which derived inspiration from his positive attitude throughout his long fight.
Huntington hosted Eli Mollineaux Day at Blue Devil Stadium last fall. The event included many special elements, but the centerpiece came early in the second half when the Blue Devil and Smithtown West gridiron squads lined up at the 50 yard line and ran a play that saw Mr. Mollineaux score a touchdown in his wheelchair. The capacity crowd of about 2,000 gave the teenager a standing ovation.
Suffolk’s 12th Man Award is presented annually “to a player who has overcome serious injury, disability, odds or adversity to return and contribute to the success of his team.” Officials decided that the story of Mr. Mollineaux and his interaction with the Blue Devil football team and performance on his special day more than met the criteria for this year’s award.
The story of Mr. Mollineaux and the Blue Devil football team was so compelling that Russell Athletic awarded Huntington its Fight Like Dylan Award and a $50,000 grant for athletic apparel during a pep rally in Louis D. Giani Gymnasium last month.
Eli Mollineaux Day propelled the Huntington football team toward the playoffs as the Blue Devils won five of their final six regular season games.
“It’s an incredible honor to receive the Suffolk 12th Man Award,” said Steve Muller, Huntington’s head coach. “Our team’s association with Eli Mollineaux is something that every coach and player will always remember.”
Huntington Players Capture Individual Honors
Nine Huntington varsity football players garnered individual post-season honors for their slick performances on the field this past fall.
Senior running back/linebacker Kei Ron Byrams and junior tight end/linebacker Anthony McDonald captured All-Division and All-County honors after turning in sensational seasons on both sides of the ball.
Seniors Jared Leake (WR/DB), Khari McNeil (OL/DL) and Eddie Daly (OL/DL) were also named to the All-Division first team. Seniors James Shea (DB) and Nick Lanzisero (RB/LB) and juniors Clay Jamison (OL/DL) and Sam Bergman (RB/LB) were selected as All-Division second team members.